U.S. Minerals Sector Recovering

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WASHINGTON, Jan. 31 (UPI) — With the U.S. economy slowly emerging from an economic recession, the USGS estimated the value of U.S. mineral production increased 12 percent last year.

Major world economies were hammered by an economic recession that began December 2007. More than four years on, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, in its monthly report for January, warned trouble in the European economic could drag on global markets.

Nevertheless, the U.S. Geological Survey said the value of U.S. mineral production increased 12 percent in 2011 compared with 2010 levels. The agency said metals accounted for much of the increase. The non-metallic mineral sector increased 3 percent, the first increase since 2007, the USGS said.

Non-fuel minerals mined in the United States were valued at $74 billion in 2011. USGS Director Marcia McNutt said domestically recycled metallic and mineral materials contributed $32 billion to the U.S. economy in 2011.

The agency said, however, that the U.S. economy depends on foreign sources to meet most of its domestic mineral demand. Domestic raw materials and recycled materials were used last year to produce mineral materials worth $633 billion, the USGS said.

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